Used by members of the U.S. Army's 120th Engineer Combat Battalion (headquartered in Okmulgee, Oklahoma) to make items for their Al Taqaddum Inter-Tribal Powwow, September 17-18, 2004, in Al Taqaddum, Iraq. Donated to NMAI by Battalion members and their chaplain, Sergeant Debra K. Mooney (Oklahoma Choctaw), in 2005.
"Brick Kilns," Clay Bluffs 1900 Miles above St. Louis
George Catlin, born Wilkes-Barre, PA 1796-died Jersey City, NJ 1872
oil on canvas
11 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (28.3 x 36.3 cm)
Figure(s) in exterior\frontier
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
By the action of water, or other power, the country seems to have been graded away; leaving occasionally a solitary mound or bluff, rising in a conical form to the height of two or three hundred feet, generally pointed or rounded at the top, and in some places grouped together in great numbers . . . the sides of these conical bluffs (which are composed of strata of different coloured clays), are continually washing down by the effect of the rains and melting of the frost; and the superincumbent masses of pumice and basalt are crumbling off, and falling down to their bases . . . The strata of clay are alternating from red to yellow-white-brown and dark blue; and so curiously arranged, as to form the most pleasing and singular effects.” George Catlin painted this work in 1832 on his first extended voyage up the Missouri River. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 10, 1841; reprint 1973)
“To this group of clay bluffs, which line the river for many miles in distance, the voyageurs have very appropriately given the name of ‘the Brick-kilns;’ owing to their red appearance, which may be discovered in a clear day at the distance of many leagues . . .
"Broncho Busters & Indian Warriors!!" Mutoscope Movie Poster
paper (overall material)
overall: 10 in x 8 in; 25.4 cm x 20.32 cm
image: 5 in x 7 in; 12.7 cm x 17.78 cm
Photo History Collection
Blue posterboard with painted advertisement for the mutoscope motion picture "Broncho Busters & Indian Warriors!!" The poster includes an attached photograph depicting a scene from the movie, in which Native American horsemen ride before an assembled crowd at a parade ground. Wild West shows like that of Buffalo Bill Cody were familiar spectacles to most Americans in the early 20th century. Wild West show companies, often composed of Native Americans, cowboy actors, and a variety of animals, toured the country as did circuses, playing to large crowds eager to catch a glimpse of the nation's disappearing frontier culture. This mutoscope movie poster proves that even filmed versions of such shows found a popular audience.
The Mutoscope Collection in the National Museum of American History’s Photographic History Collection is among the most significant of its kind in any museum. Composed of 3 cameras, 13 viewers, 59 movie reels and 53 movie posters, the collection documents the early years of the most successful and influential motion picture company of the industry’s formative period. It also showcases a unique style of movie exhibition that outlasted its early competitors, existing well into the 20th century.
The American Mutoscope Company was founded in 1895 by a group of four men, Elias Koopman, Herman Casler, Henry Marvin and William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, to manufacture a motion picture viewer called the mutoscope and to produce films for exhibition. Dickson had recently left the employ of Thomas Edison, for whom he had solved the problem of “doing for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear” by inventing the modern motion picture. Casler and Dickson worked together to perfect the mutoscope, which exhibited films transferred to a series of cards mounted in the style of a flip book on a metal core, and avoided Edison’s patents with this slightly different style of exhibition. The company’s headquarters in New York City featured a rooftop studio on a turntable to ensure favorable illumination, and the short subjects made here found such success that by 1897, the Edison company’s dominance of the industry was in danger. American Mutoscope became American Mutoscope & Biograph in 1899, when the namesake projector, invented by Casler, became the most used in the industry.
Mutoscope viewers were found in many amusement areas and arcades until at least the 1960s. Their inexpensiveness and short, often comical or sensational subjects allowed the machines a far longer life than the competing Edison Kinetoscope. The company also found success in its production and projection of motion pictures, though its activity was mired by patent litigation involving Thomas Edison through the 1910s. The notable director D. W. Griffith was first hired as an actor, working with pioneering cinematographer G. W. “Billy” Bitzer, before moving behind the camera at Biograph and making 450 films for the company.
Griffith and Bitzer invented cinematographic techniques like the fade-out and iris shot, made the first film in Hollywood and launched the careers of early stars Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. The company, simply renamed the Biograph Company in 1909, went out of business in 1928 after losing Griffith and facing a changing movie industry.
The Museum’s collection was acquired in the years between 1926 and the mid-1970s. The original mutograph camera and two later models of the camera were given to the Smithsonian in 1926 by the International Mutoscope Reel Company, which inherited Biograph’s mutoscope works and continued making the viewers and reels through the 1940s. The viewers, reels and posters in the collection were acquired for exhibition in the National Museum of American History, and were later accessioned as objects in the Photographic History Collection. Many of the mutoscope reels in the collection date to the period from 1896-1905, and show early motion picture subjects, some of which were thought to be lost films before their examination in 2008.
Clothing & Apparel\Dress Accessory\Headgear\Hat\Cowboy hat
Nature & Environment\Animal\Buffalo
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Goatee
William Frederick Cody: Natural Resources\Pioneer\Frontiersman
William Frederick Cody: Military and Intelligence\Scout
William Frederick Cody: Performing Arts\Performer\Showman
William Frederick Cody: Natural Resources\Hunter
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
To a great promoter like Colonel William F. Cody, the semireligious phrase "I Am Coming" required larger letters on this poster than the identification of the face that everyone would already recognize. Cody, originally a frontier scout, Indian fighter, and buffalo hunter, had become famous as the hero of "Buffalo Bill" dime novels and magazine stories. In 1882 he created his popular wild west show and toured as its star for thirty years, arguably doing more than any single American to popularize the myth of the West. Combining sharpshooting, riding, and roping with historical reenactments of war dances, buffalo hunts, stagecoach attacks, and "Custer's Last Fight," Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show had enormous international appeal. In fact, this copy of the poster, bearing a French tax stamp (top right), is a testament to his extremely successful tours in France.
Medicine Lodge effigy model. Long bunch of plant fibers wrapped with cloth strips and scrap of buffalo hide to which are tied a bunch of eagle feathers and five squares of printed cotton cloth. 25" (63 cm). An additional piece of plant materials and printed cloth, formerly assigned the temporary number T-11012, has been determined to be a part of this specimen. Records: The "Buffalo Head" of the Kiowa Sun Dance is a strip of hide cut from along the back of the buffalo from nose to tail, wrapped around a bundle of leafy willow rods decorated with feathers and streamers. It was fastened at the fork of the center pole of the Medicine Lodge. Collected in 1902. (A, C). (from Merrill, William L. et al. 1997. A Guide to the Kiowa Collections at the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, no. 40. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.)
FROM CARD: "A SLIP OF BAMBOO. TWO-THIRDS OF ITS LENGTH FORMS THE HANDLE. THE BODY IS DIVIDED INTO THREE PARTS, ABOUT THE SAME WIDTH BY THREE SLITS. THE TONGUE OR REED HAS ONE-HALF ITS LENGTH WIDER THAN THE OTHER. THE JAWS ARE THE OUTER PARTS OF THE SLIP AT THE HEAD. THEY ARE JOINED BY A SOLID PIECE AROUND THE TONGUE. ON THE BACK SIDE THE THICKNESS OF THE BASE OF THE TONGUE IS AT SLOPED WIDEST END AND IS CONNECTED WITH THE SOLID PIECE THAT CONNECTS THE JAWS. THE TIP OF THE TONGUE IS FREE AND TOWARDS THE HANDLE. THE PORTIONS OF THE JAWS ALONGSIDE THE WIDE PORTION OF THE TONGUE ARE SHOWED THIN TO MAKE THEM FLEXIBLE. PROJECTING FROM THE SOLID PART WHICH CONNECTS THE OUTER END OF THE JAWS, IS A SHORT SPUR. THIS IS VIBRATED BY THE FINGER WHEN THE INSTRUMENT IS PLAYED. THIS INSTRUMENT DIFFERS FROM THE COMMON JEW'S HARP IN THAT THE JAWS INSTEAD OF THE TONGUE ARE VIBRATED BY THE FINGER. ILLUS. IN PROCEEDINGS, USNM, FOL. 60; ART. 9; PL. 43, NO. 17; P. 48."